As I look back on my transition from boyhood to becoming a man, there are exactly two things that were crucial in the formative process. The first, and most important, was coming to Jesus Christ and asking Him to enter into my heart. The second was wrestling and combat sports.
I was a wrestler in high school for three years (I started late). I then took two years away from the mats, before stepping into the cage and picking up MMA, which I have been doing for 6 months now. I quickly realized that the ability of control is the biggest superpower to have on the mat, as well as in life.
Control your emotions.
Control your body language.
Control your opponent.
Control your anger.
There is no better way to learn this than through the martial arts. It doesn’t matter if it’s wrestling, jiu-jitsu, muay thai, mixed martial arts. Whatever.
The ability to move another man, to control him, to make him succumb to your will, is everything.
All these things were things that I learned through my experiences on the mat. All of them can be used for the upbuilding of God’s Kingdom.
1 – Control your emotions: When a man cannot control his emotions, he is liable to do something that he will later regret. This is no good because it could potentially ruin your testimony in someone else’s eyes. If someone thinks that you are a piece of garbage, they aren’t going to want to listen to you talk about God and will think you to be a hypocrite.
2 – Control your body language: A weak man is hardly a man at all. Often times, it is not so much our actual capabilities as our perceived capabilities. If you project weakness, then the world will be less likely to trust you and your message. Similarly, when you get tired, it may show in how you carry yourself. If you appear to be beaten down by life, is that really expressing the joy that is supposed to fill your life?
3 – Control your opponent: This is the biggest one. On the mat and in the cage, it becomes a fight between two men. It’s you vs. him. Whoever controls the other person best, will be victorious. Similarly, in life, we have to resist the Devil. While it may seem like it’s you vs. the world, every negative force that is acting on you is because of Satan. If you let Satan control you, you will lose. However, if you control him, using the Word of God and by resisting temptation, you will be victorious.
(Side note: it isn’t even really you vs. Satan. It’s God vs. Satan. The ability to take a step back and let God fight your spiritual battles is a gift that we have as Christians. You can control your reactions to the “wiles” of the devil, but in the end, God can control the final outcome. So, let Him.)
4 – Control your anger: This one fits in with the emotions, but I separated it because it is such a big factor. When we get mad, we often say and do things that we don’t mean, we hurt people that we love, and we offend God. However, when we are able to control that anger, and funnel it into aggression towards a particular thing, it could be one of our greatest tools.
I’ll leave you with one question:
Do you have control of your life? Or are you letting Satan win?